As fascinating this hobby is, little knowledge is a dangerous thing. As I was trying to engrave with Dry Moly - I got nauseous. I feel poisoned for real. That horrible smell. Please never try it because I did already. Not worth it!
I got that concern a while ago about health effects of this hobby, because pretty obviously we are dealing with significant amount of particulate and chemical matters. I like to watch that laser in work. Every time I do - my wife passing by complaining about smell from using laser. It did not bother me till that Molly burn.
Playing with tiles I had an idea that it is very possible that some particulate matter is generated. Tiles being covered with Silica probably can cause Silicosis with generated dust of it. Quick search and sure enough - there are studies already, and warnings, like this.
This is getting worse with proliferation of cheap laser machines with ever more powerful lasers.
That “$79” machine extensively discussed here, has absolutely nothing to reduce pollution.
While experimenting with glass, I can confirm that small particulates are loosened from glass, small as a dust can be inhaled, another risk of Silicosis.
Paint burn products form “NWT” method, or black paint from glass, all byproducts will end up airborne.
I do not think that in our lifetime there will be specific study on users of personal laser burners and correlation with increased diseases we get. Unless Skynet picks up that metadata and decided that we are danger to our self. We all know how it ends…
My point: lets practice safe lasering! Know that this hobby has risks. Worse - risks are not obvious. Pay attention. Share what you know, because many have no idea.
My #1: Silica. It is main ingredient in tiles glazing. While bonded after firing glaze - lasering or scratching it may loosen it up and easily inhaled. My new batch of tiles from Lowes has that silica dust all over it. I had to wash it before taking it to the machine. Mow I have to find safer spot for my laser equipment in the shed, add exhaust hood, use respirator while at it.
#2: most burnt stuff, like paint base, VOC, organics form Elmer’s glue etc, are all in the air. Exhaust is the best option, I think. At very least set HEPA with charcoal air filter right next to your laser.